BY KRIS FANT
The time came to return to the ranch. It’s dirty laundry time; here are the coaching assessment results from my first session with Coach Stroud. This is where Student Centered Coaching continues to parts ways from a traditional training school.
Reviewing the Last Session
The assessment process continues each lesson, with Coach Stroud checking retention and reinforcing concepts from the previous session. Some activities were easier this second lesson, and sometimes Coach would offer a gentle mental shift that made all the difference. We viewed photos and videos of my last lesson as well as other riders, looking for the gravity neutral body position. Every analysis follows the same pattern, footpegs up, so we learn to analyze ourselves on and off the bike. This methodical analysis has already started to develop roots in my brain; on my daily commute I am working on posture and analysis.
For example, here is a short video of a muddy hill descent exercise: Kris Hill Gravity Neutral
The Primary Phase 1 training goals generated by my assessment included mind-body connection, traction management principles, soft hands, counterbalanced seated and standing turns with torque precision and control. With these goals in mind, Coach created 29 drills that we will work on over the course of the coming sessions.
This, again, is where individual coaching differs from a group class. When Coach assesses another rider, their overall goal might be different. Their primary training goals are generated from their personal skill level, and the drills are adapted to their goals.
I want to share one important concept I took away from this lesson: The idea of being Gravity Neutral. Gravity neutral is an important concept for motorcycle management and energy conservation. Gravity neutral means that all the forces of the motorcycle are equalized with the force of gravity.
Early in motorcycle experiences, many people have an experience where a bike gets past “the point of no return” and ends up on the ground when they are not expecting it. We tend to think of bikes as getting “heavier” as they lean over more. Gravity neutral is a position where the gravity acting on the bike’s lean and your body position create a sum of “zero”. This is how we do counterbalanced slow-speed turns. What’s amazing is HOW MUCH we have to offset our body weight to affect the weight of the motorcycle.
An Exercise for You
Try this: The Four Inch Clutch Control Exercise
- Find a small hill
- Sit on the bike, feet (or toes) on the ground)
- No brakes are necessary for this exercise
- Bring your engine RPM’s up to 1000-2000 and hold steady
- Let your clutch lever out just enough to let the bike roll forward a few inches
- Pull the clutch lever in just enough to let it roll back to its original position
- Rather than brakes, let the clutch lever back out to let it roll up four inches
- Repeat until you can do this without thinking about it.
Putting it into Practice
The weekend after this session, I went to Bend, Oregon to ride little bikes. After a month of practicing footpeg up analysis on my daily commute, I had some brain cells available to pay attention to other things, like soft hands. Have you ever had to hold on for dear life when you rolled on the throttle? That was me on my kx100. I didn’t even know I was doing it because I’d worked so hard on not being stressed or tense in my hands and arms. But I had retained this bad habit.
When increasing throttle, we can move our body into a gravity neutral position, and by doing so, keep our shoulders, arms, and hands soft while gripping the bike with our knees, shins, and ankles. This was an incredible bit of applied knowledge that I focused on all day, trying to make this a new habit. The mind-body connection was imperfect when I started this training, but with methodical analysis, I am learning to analyze myself and make small changes that are going to add up to an amazing adventure in November!
Analyze This Rider
If you’d like to know more about Coach Stroud, check out his website HERE, or download his first ebook HERE.
If you missed the first article about STUDENT FOCUSED COACHING, check it out!